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Discover Peloponnese, the jewel of mainland Greece

Gytheio ● Mani ● Messinia ● Monemvasia ● Nafplion ● Peloponnese ● 17 September 2018
 
Peloponnese is a wide area in southern Greece, which has played a very important role in the evolution of Greece. It had significant city-states in ancient world, but also it was the starting point of the Greek Independence War in the 19th century. Medieval and neoclassical towns, gorgeous beaches, stunning seaside and mountainous villages as well as numerous historical sites, this is Peloponnese. In order to discover it all, you need more than 3-4 weeks. We gathered for you here the top of the top places to explore in Peloponnese, and we recommend you to visit them all by car. A road trip in Peloponnese is a great experience to get familiar with the history, the nature and the urban culture of Greece. Some people say Peloponnese is Greece's miniature, and I agree with that!

Beautiful towns

Gytheio

Gytheio in Lakonia is a colourful coastal town with neoclassical buildings that has kept its traditional character. The promenade by the sea is just amazing, and the fishing boats, the cafés and the taverns on the waterfront create a picturesque landscape. The whole area around Gytheio and Mani has an impressive natural landscape as well as many stunning villages that are waiting to be explored.
Gytheio

Mani

Mani, which covers the second peninsula in southern Peloponnese and starts from Gytheio, is a travel back in time. Wild landscape, stone-built towers everywhere, even standing alone on the top of a hill, and the feeling that you came in a historical place, where the people say that they are direct descendants of the ancient Spartans. Mani is not a village or a city, but a wider region, which consists of many small villages that are worth visiting.  Areopolis Mani is one of the most typical villages of Mani with beautiful stone houses, pebbled streets, shops with local products, cafés and restaurants. Just 4 km from Areopolis, is located an astonishingly beautiful seaside village, Limeni. The beauty of Limeni cannot be expressed by words. Renovated stone-built towers and houses in front of the sea, which with its crystal waters makes the scenery just amazing. Gerolimenas is another stunning seaside village that seems to have stopped the time. There, you can relax, drink ouzo by the sea and walk in the pebbled streets. Gerolimenas has not as many touristic facilities as Limeni and Areopolis Mani, but you can still find there taverns, a café and hotels.
Mani

The outer side of Mani is in Messinia. The landscape there is green and mild, but there are also wonderful traditional villages, where you can eat or drink coffee. Kardamili is a must in this region because it has kept its character and is a lovely village with stone houses, seaside taverns and flowers everywhere. The route from Lakonia to Messinia and Kalamata impresses with the combination of wild and mild landscape and the innumerable villages that stand on the road, and the one is more beautiful than the other.

Nafplio

Nafplio is the most beautiful town in Argolis, in eastern Peloponnese, in a close distance to Athens. The medieval atmosphere, the nostalgic aura of the Old Town with the narrow paved streets, the cobblestone promenade, the fish taverns by the sea and the cosmopolitanism of this small city make Nafplio one of the most popular towns in southern Greece. Here, you have many things to do, like visiting the Palamidi Fortress and the Castle of Mpourtzi or swimming in one of the beautiful beaches nearby.
Nafplion

Monemvasia

Monemvasia looks like it comes from the Medieval Era. The Old Town and the Castle have been built on a huge rock with a magnificent view of the sea, and they make you feel that a knight will come and visit you after midnight. The Old Town inside the Castle is the main sightseeing, but in Monemvasia, you can also find some interesting things to do and see apart from it. The place is ideal for a romantic weekend, and it offers you the opportunity to relax and enjoy the unforgettable atmosphere. 
Monemvasia

Methoni and Koroni

In a close distance to Pylos, you can visit two castle-towns, Koroni and Methoni Messinia, where you will experience the Medieval aura of the area. The Venetian Castle of each town by the sea, the traditional character and the authenticity of these small towns make you adore them and understand how Medieval Times looked like in Greece.
Methoni

Mountainous villages

Kalavrita

On the northern site of Peloponnese, in a valley among high mountains, is located a small and beautiful town, Kalavrita.  Kalavrita played a significant role in the Greek history because on the one hand, in this place, the Greeks decided to begin the War of their Independence against Turkey, and on the other hand, Kalavrita suffered a great massacre in 1943 when the Nazis killed all its male population. It is a picturesque town with traditional architecture, which is surrounded by green forests and steep mountains. You can walk around the pebbled streets, shop local products, drink coffee in one of the cosy coffee shops or eat in one of the many restaurants and tavernas with Greek cuisine you will find. Only 16 km from Kalavrita, the Ski Centre at Helmos Mountain is one of the largest Ski Centres in Greece.
Don't miss the beautiful route from Kalavrita by the cog train! The cog train covers a distance of about 22 km from Kalavrita to Diakofto. It is one of the most beautiful trips in Greece because the train passes through rare natural sceneries and picturesque villages like Zachlorou. Take the train from Kalavrita or Diakofto, and enjoy one hour of breathtaking view that you have not ever seen.
Kalavrita

Dimitsana and Oreini Arkadia

Oreini (=mountainous) Arkadia is a wider area of Peloponnese, which is characterised by its amazing natural beauty and its stone-built villages. Dimitsana, Stemnitsa, Vytina and Lagkadia are only some of the places you can discover in a weekend by driving along the narrow streets in the forests and the valleys, with Dimitsana being the star of the area. In Dimitsana, you will find traditional restaurants, cafes and guesthouses in beautiful stone houses. The warm environment near the fireplace gives you the best opportunity to relax, discuss with your friends, play board games and leave your tiredness behind. In a close distance to Dimitsana, is located the Ski Resort of Mainalo, where you can do ski, snowboard and other winter sports, while in Lousios River you can admire the verdant nature and do kayak and rafting.
Dimitsana

Trikala

Trikala Korinthias is a small beautiful village very close to Athens (only one hour drive). It is located near Korinthos and is ideal to relax, hike on the mountain and enjoy the friendly atmosphere with your other half. In a close distance to Trikala, is located the Ski Center of Ziria, which is ideal for the beginners in winter sports.


Historical sites

Ancient Olympia

In western Peloponnese, in the valley of Alpheios River, is located the monument of ancient Olympia where the Olympic Games of the antiquity took place. Olympia was the most important athletic and religious centre of ancient Greece because of the Games, which owe their name to their birthplace. This great national festival was held every four years to honour Zeus. During the Games, there was a temporary truce between the states, and the soldiers, who were at the same time athletes, contested together as co-athletes and not as enemies. In the archaeological site of Olympia, you will see the sanctuary of Zeus and many buildings around it, which were used for the preparation and the celebration of the Olympics, such as athletic premises, administrative buildings and monuments. The most prominent of them are the Temples of Zeus and Hera, the Prytaneion, the Stoa, the Gymnasium and the Palaestra.
Ancient Olympia

Temple of Apollo Epicurus

The temple was dedicated to Apollo the Healer and is located at Bassae, an archaeological site in Messinia, Peloponnese. This site was the first in Greece that UNESCO inscribed in its World Heritage List. Pausanias considered it to be one of the finest temples in Peloponnese thanks to its beauty, harmony and the combination of the Archaic with the Doric style. 
Temple of Apollo Epicurus

Ancient Corinth

Korinthos was a city-state (polis) and one of the largest cities in ancient Greece. In this archaeological site, you can see the well-preserved temple of Apollo, the ruins of Lerna Theatre, the Pirini Fountain, the archaeological museum and the Acrocorinth, the Acropolis of ancient Korinthos.

Mystras

Mystras is a fortified town in Laconia, on Mountain Taygetos. It was the capital of the Byzantine Despotate of the Morea and experienced a period of prosperity and cultural flowering. The city was abandoned in 1832, leaving only the breathtaking medieval ruins in a beautiful landscape. These ruins, including the palace, the fortress, the churches and the monasteries, was inscribed in 1989 in the List of World Heritage Sites of UNESCO.
Mystras

Monastery of Agia Lavra

Near Kalavrita, the Monastery of Agia Lavra is of great significance because there, the Greek Revolution against the Turks was declared on 25th March 1821. You can visit there the chapel and the museum about the history of the outset of the Greek Revolution.

Beaches

Voidokoilia

Near Pylos, this horseshoe-shaped beach with the golden sand and the emerald waters is a perfect example of the beauty in mainland Greece. Above the beach, you can see the ruins of a Frankish castle of the 13th century and combine a historical visit with a day by the sea.
Voidokoilia

Mavrovouni

Mavrovouni beach is located near Gytheio and what makes it unique is not only the beautiful landscape around the bay but also the wildlife. You can see there hundreds of butterflies, birds and various species of sea life. Although it gets very crowded in summer, there is plenty of space for everyone!

Foinikounta

Foinikounta in Messinia, very close to Kardamili and Mani, is an impressive bay with golden sand and emerald waters. It is also a family-friendly beach, which is organised with lots of touristic facilities, taverns, hotels and water-sports amenities.

Elafonisos

Simos in Elafonisos is the most popular beach in Peloponnese. Two beaches with the clear waters of the Aegean Sea create a landscape that every summer attracts thousands of visitors, who want to admire the spectacular beauty of nature.
Elafonisos

Zacharo

The beach of Zacharo in Ilia, in a short distance from ancient Olympia, overlooks the Ionian Sea, and thus it has lush greenery, white sand and turquoise waters. It is a very long imposing beach, which covers a large part of the western coast of Peloponnese and creates many other small beaches, such as Kourouta.

Where to Stay

Hotel in Olympia, Greece Athina Hotel
Athina Hotel
Xenofontos str., Krestena, 27055 Olympia, Greece

Athina Hotel is located in the village of Krestena, Olympia. The archaeological site of ancient Olympia, where the Olympic games were born, is a 20-minute drive away. The lovely lake of Kaiafas is 13 km away.

Hotel in Nafplio, Greece Iria Beach Hotel
Iria Beach Hotel
Iria beach, 21060 Nafplio, Greece

Iria Beach Hotel is located right on the pebbled beach of Iria, approximately 22 km away from the town of Nafplio. The Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus is 25 km away.

Hotel & Appartment in Nafplio, Greece 999 Luxury Hotel
999 Luxury Hotel
Staikopoulou & 13 Kokkinou str., 21100 Nafplio, Greece

Located in the heart of the lively center of Nafplio town, 999 Luxury Hotel is just 100 m from the main square and 5 minutes walk from the seaside promenade. Arvanitia Beach can be reached within 10 minutes on foot. The bus station (KTEL) is at 200 meters.


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